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Three refugee families return with pope

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis flew out of Port Mytilene with three refugee families that the Vatican will give hospitality and shelter to in Rome, Italy.

The Vatican Press Office reported, “The pope has desired to make a gesture of welcome regarding refugees, accompanying him on his plane to Rome three families of refugees from Syria, 12 people in all, including six children.”

The press release described them as people who were already in camps in Lesvos before the agreement between the European Union and Turkey was signed.

All three families are Muslim. Two came from Damascus and the third one from Deir Azzor, an area occupied by the Islamic State. Their homes had been bombed and completely destroyed.

Although the initial hospitality will be offered by the lay peace group, Sant’Egidio, the Vatican will take responsibility for the arrival of the three families and their eventual maintenance.

The Holy See press officer, Father Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican had taken care of all negotiations with the Italian and Greek governments, and wished to make a concrete gesture to the people huddled in Lesvos, as well as bringing them greetings and signing a joint declaration.

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